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People are dying around them so they close their eyes

The Sin Tax, as passed by the House, faces tough opposition in the Senate. Senate President Enrile said it will be madugo. Why should it be bloody?

The bill, according to its opponents, deals primarily with revenue enhancement and only secondarily as a public health issue. And so, while people are dying from emphysema, cancer, liver cirrhosis and a whole host of ailments associated with smoking and heavy drinking, some senators will pretend that the issue at hand is fair and effective taxation and the welfare of those who depend on tobacco and alcohol for their living, not health.

The 2012 Real Business Cycle of the Philippines

Suppose that a car moves 100 kilometers per hour (kph). One second after, suppose that the same car moves between 95 and 105 kph. The outcome is not surprising for it is normal to change in a second, given the momentum, the wind, the steepness, and the humps and bumps of the road. But suppose the car doubles its speed to 200 kph or stops to 0 kph in a second. Then the outcome is not normal and it raises questions. Was it hit by lightning from behind to double its speed to 200 kph? Did the car hit solid rock to completely stop? What part of the change has to do with human intervention, e.g., the driver floors either the gas pedal or the brakes?

Jonah and the falcon

The US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) is the bane of travelers going through America’s airports. Its agents are pesky characters who frisk all suspicious-looking passengers. And when frisking does not do it for them, they ask “suspects” to walk through a full-body scanner, a machine that performs a virtual strip-search.

Guarded Optimism on Mining

President Benigno Aquino III’s recent statements on mining are grounds for optimism. A few weeks ago, the President issued Executive Order No. 79 on Mining that embodies a list of goals, including increasing returns from mining activities and joining the Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI).

Short and curlies

In an interview over an evening program on Interaksyon radio, retired Archbishop Oscar Cruz wondered whether Pres. Aquino understood the meaning of responsible parenthood. He said one can’t endorse the Reproductive Health Bill and talk of responsible parenthood at the same time because responsible parenthood is the term used by the Catholic Church to denote family planning through natural methods and not through condoms and pills. Unfortunately, Cruz’s interlocutors did not ask him if coitus interuptus was natural or artificial.

SONA 2012

The musician, satirist, and poet Lourd de Veyra is on the bull’s eye when he said that media coverage of the state of the nation address (SONA) will focus on the gowns that the Mesdames will wear in the event. Or on how many rounds of applause interrupt the President’s speech. I like Lourd de Veyra for his sharp wit, and I wish he would compose a SONA song.